Skip to main content

Reply to this post | See parent post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: Jim F Date: Mar 7, 2014 10:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Brotherhood vs. the Dead Machine

Nice job on this one, and great subject matter. For me it's not a matter of it being about any sort of voyeuristic pleasure and wanting to hear all "the dirt" from the tell-alls, I just appreciate a complete, honest telling of history. And this kind of stuff was a reality.

I've always enjoyed Greenfield's book, the first half is very pleasant, it's only the last half that is a walk through the weeds. That's another case of needing to understand context, like Hunter's comments from 1996. It seems like on top of the pressures and drama of the Machine eating away at the GD Family Brotherhood over decades, everybody was in really dark moods in 95-96, maybe even 97, lots of people lost and confused and there's overtones of grieving and getting stuff off of chests and expressing regrets and airing grievances going on in the interviews from that time. Surprisingly during those years when the reset button got hit after Jerry died only Vince seemed to have really self-destructed in the fallout of the mid and late 1990's. Perhaps he didn't have enough time to hang around their scene long enough to get as calloused and toughened-up as the others.

For such a relatively dark post about the GD Family basically being shitty to each other, I'm almost kind of surprised you didn't include some thoughts on how the band dealt with things like loss and addiction outside of Jerry's all-consuming issues and habitual lack of taking responsibility. Jerry's problems affected everyone yet also mirrored everyone else's problems. Jerry was obviously influential but the others seem just as guilty of some of the more cold, brutal realities and treatment of each other. It's a classic case of hate the game, not the player.

An example of what I'm talking about would be things like the reaction to Brent's demise in the Jerry days to Vince in the post-GD world. Lotta people think Vince got a raw deal, but that's really all speculation and opinion, and a whole different element of the "Brotherhood" discussion.

I'm making this out to be too much about addiction, and it shouldn't be (though it should be interesting in 10 or 20 years when people talk about what was REALLY going on with Bobby over the last couple years, falling over onstage, "accidental Ambien incidents," checking in somewhere to get "rest," etc...). But I think it fits in with their almost religious devotion to avoiding confrontation and dealing with problems. It seems ironic for people whose music was all about being on the same page while improvising and having a great deal of talent and ability to listen and communicate onstage and react, in their business and personal lives their approach was almost the total opposite, to never react, just shut up, keep going, and hope the problem goes away.

Anyway, I just re-read the "Bear at the Board" entry, and it works well as a companion piece to this essay (naturally, they feature a lot of the same quotes). It's funny to think of two such opposite people like Bear and Hunter both feeling fed up by 72 and retreating, for similar reasons.

I've been compiling all your essays, including the comments sections, and converting them to epub files to put on my little tablet so I can read them anywhere. It's been a real joy revisiting this stuff, I've been reading one or two a night all week since this most recent one on the Brotherhood vs the Machine. Though last night I began a detour into the "Embalming the Dead" thesis.

Anywho, keep up the good work, and the other night I thought of a possible topic suggestion for you, but I'll be damned if I can't remember what it is now! Ha, I've been sick the last couple days, exhausted, and need to be excused. Hopefully soon I'll get my mojo back and remember, that is assuming you don't mind a suggestion! Not that you need it, your topics are always a good read, and a great refresher course on my GD History as I haven't read any of the Big Books put out in a while. Though that's what I like about your essays, you really dig up some relatively obscure sources and interviews, not just regurgitating McNally and the like.

This post was modified by Jim F on 2014-03-08 06:33:31

This post was modified by Jim F on 2014-03-08 06:34:49

This post was modified by Jim F on 2014-03-08 06:35:53

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: light into ashes Date: Mar 8, 2014 12:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Brotherhood vs. the Dead Machine

I did leave a lot out of this post, intentionally. One reason was, I wanted to keep it short & relatively focused. I didn't want it to center on Garcia's addiction, or the later years, or bad behavior by the band. And I didn't want to keep piling up negative stories, though there are plenty. My goal was just to present the problems three different Dead insiders had with the band/scene in the early '70s; though the '90s outcome turned out to be a necessary epilogue. I consider this post basically an outline or starting point.

Greenfield's book is great for reading about the nasty stuff I didn't include. As you said, since he did his interviews in '95/96, it was all fresh in mind and everyone was feeling really guilty & full of regrets & grievances, so it sure gives that book a dark feel.
McNally's later chapters do make it pretty clear the band was barely communicating with each other in the later years - as Barlow said, their emotional rapport "ran the gamut from irony to sarcasm." And I think it's obvious it was an extremely unhealthy/self-destructive scene to be in, no matter what year - some could cope, some escaped, some died - but that's a pretty common aspect of rock bands! Not a haven for gentle souls, for sure.

Sure, I'll consider topic suggestions...if they appeal to me...but I have a backlog of topics I'd like to get to!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Monte B Cowboy Date: Mar 8, 2014 7:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Brotherhood vs. the Dead Machine

Dirty Laundry, (in-)Fighting, and Reconciliation are things that "go with 'the territory'." Thanks for writing this essay. I appreciate 'working with you' on undeleting this stuff...

'Dirty Laundry' is the heartbeat of my freaked-out, hippie-essay about electronics and taping:
[ On Feb 25, Brewster told me, "Wow! That is the most elaborate forum post in the archive's history. It will take a bit of time to digest, and glad it is there. What a positive view." ]

'(in-)Fighting' - how about the b.s. fiasco I was in the middle of, and web-master for, in early 2009? It's Deleted!

'contemporary lack of Reconciliation' is my area of expertise; that's why I wrote my freaked-out, hippie-essay 'thesis story':
- for example, how many times have I been 'deleted' in this thread?

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: steam locomotive Date: Mar 9, 2014 7:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Brotherhood vs. the Dead Machine

Very interesting post. Coming late to this, I realize, but I might just point out (if someone hasn't already) that Hunter seems to be drawing a connection between the band's moral and creative deterioration. The same group that was increasingly satisfied to remain abstracted from the abuses taking place under their authority, and to allow politicking to overtake any kind of direct communication, was also increasingly unable to write songs together. Obviously, Hunter has a dog in this particular fight, but it's hard to argue with the evidence here, if one compares the glut of new music in, say, 1971, with its absence even 10 years later.